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Mixed or average reviews - based on 45 Critics What's this?

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8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 760 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: Based on the best-selling novel by David Mitchell, “Cloud Atlas” explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future. Drama, mystery, action and enduring love thread through a story that unfolds in multipleBased on the best-selling novel by David Mitchell, “Cloud Atlas” explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future. Drama, mystery, action and enduring love thread through a story that unfolds in multiple lifetimes as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution. Each member of the ensemble cast appears in multiple roles as the story moves through time. (Warner Bros. Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 45
  2. Negative: 4 out of 45
  1. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Oct 26, 2012
    100
    Its too-muchness is also the source of its power; I was absolutely never bored, and felt surprised when the movie ended. It's an amazing, baffling, thrilling and (for many, it would appear) irritating experience, and for my money the most beautiful and distinctive big-screen vision of the year.
  2. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Oct 24, 2012
    83
    Cloud Atlas is certainly out to be a ''visionary'' mindbender, but the film's secret is that it's a nimbly entertaining and light-on-its-feet Hollywood contraption, with the actors cast in multiple roles as if playing a game of dress-up.
  3. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Oct 25, 2012
    75
    Despite some weaknesses, a sense gradually emerges in this film- not just an idea, but a strong feeling mixed with an idea - about the dance of good and evil over time.
  4. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Oct 27, 2012
    60
    One has to ask: does it allow for immersion? Even as we applaud the dramatic machinery, are we being kept emotionally at bay? [29 Oct. & 5 Nov. 2012, p.128]
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Oct 25, 2012
    50
    This would-be epic is beautifully photographed, elegantly crafted and adventurously cast. Unfortunately, though, it plays like a gargantuan trailer for a movie still to be made.
  6. Reviewed by: Jordan Mintzer
    Sep 9, 2012
    50
    Not quite soaring into the heavens, but not exactly crash-landing either, Cloud Atlas is an impressively mounted, emotionally stilted adaptation of British author David Mitchell's bestselling novel.
  7. Reviewed by: Karina Longworth
    Sep 17, 2012
    10
    A manifesto in the form of an enormously budgeted quasi-sci-fi epic, Cloud Atlas is evidently personal, defiantly sincere, totally lacking in self-awareness, and borderline offensive in its gleeful endorsement of revenge violence against anyone who gets in the way of a good person's self-actualization. The rest of the time, it's just insipid, TV-esque in its limited visual imagination, and dramatically incoherent.

See all 45 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 33 out of 216
  1. Apr 23, 2013
    10
    A philosophical journey discussing how and why we live our lives and the ultimate repercussions of our actions on this planet. Sounds dull,A philosophical journey discussing how and why we live our lives and the ultimate repercussions of our actions on this planet. Sounds dull, you'd be dead wrong. Cloud Atlas tells many stories. In fact it tells 6 stories, each of them in different time periods, past, present and future. It follows revolutionaries in futuristic Neo Seoul, Composers in pre world war 2 Edinburgh and a group of elderly inhabitants of a dictatorial nursing home planning a jail break of sorts. Cloud Atlas isn't just adventurous and bold in its risk taking but its also informative. Cloud Atlas is an education in not just philosophy but film making and all the reasons it was created as a medium. It's the ultimate canvas where you can tell any story, no matter how ridiculous or far fetched. When I say Cloud Atlas is ridiculous it is not to ridicule it, in fact it is a compliment because it tells stories that shouldn't link and brings them together into a grand narrative that is at times naive and idealistic but never dull and always thrilling. Unlike the book the film is based on, the film cross cuts across its many tales instead of telling them in half chunks. It connects its stories through the many themes and ideas that makes the film so inspiring from love to adventure. The thing that binds these stories and makes this story jumping possible is the use of the actors in multiple stories. The actors play multiple roles through time and part of the superficial charm of the picture is spotting Tom Hanks or Hugh Grant in their many disguises or failing to spot Halle Berry as a Korean man. It's a film that is equal part fever dream and epic poem. The film unlike the book isn't so much about one life, one soul throughout the ages (although a strange birthmark seems to represent the idea of one soul throughout eternity) but about humanity, our collective consciousness through the ages instead. This film is a look into the idea of the butterfly effect, the idea that chaos theory can also be seen the other way, that one action can bring about good instead of evil for years to come. for example a self absorbed, opinionated composer (a terrific Ben Whishaw) creates a piece of music used for years to come thanks to the actions of not just him but people long into the future. However it is a film that must build to its epic conclusion and for that reason the first hour is quite dense (dense as in full, this film is never stupid) and takes some concentration. Once you understand the characters, the ideas and stories you are being presented its easy to get lost in this idealistic look at the good we can accomplish as a race and the absolute evil we can cause by just not trying or choosing yourself instead of others. Overall its a near perfect picture because of its attention to detail and its desire to show something we rarely see at the movies, a movie that celebrates stories and the hold they can have on us. Expand
  2. Oct 30, 2012
    10
    This is a fantastic attempt at adapting a book which many considered unadaptable. The disparate mishmash of genres that make up the movieThis is a fantastic attempt at adapting a book which many considered unadaptable. The disparate mishmash of genres that make up the movie somehow come together brilliantly when taken as a whole. Of course, there are 'weaknesses', as is the case in almost any work of art, but that does not prevent this from being a brilliant, audacious movie. We need more risk taking and original films like this from the big studios! Expand
  3. Oct 29, 2012
    10
    This was a remarkable movie, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I did not read the book but now I intend to. I understand that this is not aThis was a remarkable movie, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I did not read the book but now I intend to. I understand that this is not a movie for everybody, but it's a movie for adults. The music and editing was so well done and that is just a cherry on top of this homage to film, love, life, freedom and what it all means to us. Brilliant!!! Expand
  4. Nov 6, 2012
    9
    Ever since the first time I saw the trailer for this film, I've been intrigued as to how such an intertwisting of differing tales couldEver since the first time I saw the trailer for this film, I've been intrigued as to how such an intertwisting of differing tales could possibly be portrayed coherently and, more importantly, meaningfully on-screen (or in any medium, frankly). Intent on finding out, I decided to read the book before the movie was released. I was much exhilarated by the boldness of the book, and only slightly disappointed by the weakness of some of the stories portrayed there. I say this not because the movie reflects such weaknesses, but because it takes the weaknesses and turns them into wild, weeping, glowing success. While the book follows each tale in a tiered, orderly fashion - alphabetically in chronological order: ABCDEFEDCBA respectively (A being the 1830s, F being some unknown date in the deep future) - the movie twists and contorts the entire story by switching almost randomly between each tale in a meaningful and telling way. Where in the book, a story may end on a somber and somewhat uneventful note, the movie wraps that ending amongst other happenings from the other stories to provide context the book fails to adequately capture or express. Albeit, this is mostly done by much-abbreviating each story and condensing general plot structures to super-saturated levels compared to the book's meanderings. Nevertheless, the movie does not fail to capture the essence of each.

    What struck me the hardest, however, was not the way each story was interwoven in the film, but how the film actually manages to improve many of the stories by condensing them. The characters the book familiarizes the reader with are suddenly granted the respect they deserve in their much-heightened Hollywood movie aspects, and I respect the filmmakers for giving them the chance to shine.

    The obvious downside to all of this is that reading the novel is an absolutely necessary prerequisite for watching the film. Otherwise, the pure joy you find in each story made new, each character given a better chance to fulfill their role, and the meaning behind the story-weaving device all become an incomprehensible muddle of six slightly disappointing tales told in a new but annoying fashion. Nevertheless, despite this downside, I cannot help but give this movie high marks; they took the material, absorbed it thoroughly, and from it built a glorious masterpiece. If only the book could be sold as appendices to the film's great triumph.
    Expand
  5. Oct 28, 2012
    8
    If I had written this review right after I walked out of the theater, I might've given it somewhere around a 3. The story isn't very coherent,If I had written this review right after I walked out of the theater, I might've given it somewhere around a 3. The story isn't very coherent, and you get the impression that it takes itself way too seriously. The messages and themes are also not very subtle. However, the longer I think about this movie, the more I appreciate it. It does a very good job at showing how powerful certain decisions can be for the future. It has strong emotional power during several scenes, and it definitely makes you think. As a movie fan, I've been growing tired of seeing so many similar movies, no matter the genre or style. Action movies, emotional dramas, and comedies, mostly seem to each blend in with the other movies of their genre, so it was nice to see something unlike any other movie. It is thoroughly entertaining, and while you might get the immediate impression that it is pretentious, self-indulgent, and not deep or intelligent enough to back that pretentiousness up, just let it gestate it your head, and I think you will come to appreciate it for what it has to offer. Expand
  6. Apr 27, 2013
    6
    This movie is one of the most polarizing movies right now. It's basically like Animatrix with 6 mini stories that's related to each other. TheThis movie is one of the most polarizing movies right now. It's basically like Animatrix with 6 mini stories that's related to each other. The environments for each timeline is appropriate, the standouts being the 5th and 6th story which takes place in the future with awesome futuristic technology that I soooo want to have. One problem though, this movie is a complete mess. It regularly jumps all over the place from the past to the future then to the past again that I can't think of any other thing to say but "what the hell does this movie want to be?" Every timeline has different themes to them. First and second story is drama movie, 3rd is suspense thriller, 4th is a comedy, the 5th and 6th story in the future is all action. The movie jumps back and forth between all the stories that it's just a complete mess. I tries to link them together by having the themes when it jumps similar, eg: a battle in the 6th jumps to a battle in the 3rd, but in all honesty it's completely unnecessary. The theme of the story is the first story leading to the next will influence the actions of each story's main characters, and that's it. It's better to just play it in order from the first to the last story like Animatrix or some other short movie compilations so it's easy to follow and fun to enjoy. Maybe one day someone on Youtube will do that, I'm looking forward to seeing these stories in order so it'll be more enjoyable to follow. Expand
  7. Dec 21, 2012
    0
    I have walked out on 3 movies in 46 years. 1. Eyes wide shut. If youve seen it you understand whether you want to admit it or not.
    2. Earnest
    I have walked out on 3 movies in 46 years. 1. Eyes wide shut. If youve seen it you understand whether you want to admit it or not.
    2. Earnest Goes to Camp ( Drive in theater. I was 18 She was done with her business and I was done with mine. We left the show)
    3. This miserable piece of crap. Cloud Atlas. WTF? Only movie I've ever asked for my my money back.
    Expand

See all 216 User Reviews

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